Breast cancer — such a scary term for women. Such a common disease for women — 1 in 8 Americans will have breast cancer in her lifetime. The incidence is up 52% from 1950.
Should we be looking for a cure or should we be looking for prevention? Most of the efforts I read about in the press involve looking for better chemotherapy agents, vaccines, genetically-customized treatments, all things which enhance profits of the drug and device companies. Surely some of these are beneficial, but is that where most of the effort should go?
|Excess body fat||Early puberty|
|Sedentary lifestyle||Late menopause|
|Excess alcohol intake||Getting older|
|Toxin exposure||College education|
There isn’t much you can do to change the risk factors in column “B.” You can’t take back your college education, nor would you want to. You may not want to get older, but there isn’t much you can do about it. But you can change everything in column “A.”
Reducing excess body fat helps by lowering inflammatory chemicals and tumor growth factors which have been associated with breast cancer.
Get moving — Exercise can reduce breast cancer risk up to 30%. Even small amounts of exercise (once a week) can lower risk by 6%, but longer (10-19 hours/week) can bring about the 30% reduction. Activities like walking, household chores and gardening count! And if you have already been diagnosed with breast cancer, exercise will increase your survival and reduce your risk of recurrence.
Lower your toxic burden — This means keeping chemicals out of your house, off your skin and out of your food supply. Use natural cleaners, non-toxic body products and organic food. For more information go to ewg.org, the website of the Environmental Working Group. You will find guides for safe cosmetics, cleaning products and foods.
Alcohol — Excess alcohol intake for women means drinking more than the equivalent of 1½ glasses of wine a day. So, although there are good antioxidants in wine, don’t overdo it.
Stress — Stress has been shown to increase cancer risk. Cutting down on stress is no easy task, but there are things you can do to lower the physiologic impact of stress on your body. Some examples are yoga, transcendental meditation or breathing and relaxation exercises. Go to the Universal Breathing Room for breathing guidance and global connection at http://doasone.com/BreathingRooms.aspx?RoomID=1
Here’s to Breast Cancer Awareness Month and to Prevention!